How to Kill a Process in Windows 10

When you start an app, the operating system creates a process for an executable file of the app. It contains the program code and its current activity. Windows assigns a special number known as Process Identifier (PID) which is unique for every process. There are a number of reasons you might want to kill a process, and different methods you can use to terminate it. Here is how it can be done.


If an app stops responding, consumes a lot of system resources or behaves unexpectedly and doesn't allow you to quit it, you might want to kill its process to forcefully close the app. Traditionally, Windows allowed using Task Manager and the command prompt for these tasks. In addition to these methods, you can use PowerShell. Here is how.

To kill a process in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Click on "More details" in the bottom right corner to enter Full view mode.Task Manager Windows 10 Show More Details
  3. Select the desired app in the app list.
  4. Click on the End task button or hit the Del key on the keyboard.Task Manager Tab Details Kill A Process With Task Manager

You are done.

This is Task Manager's most well known method.

Note: The same can be done from the Details tab. It is a special tab which lists process names instead of app names. There you can select a process in the list and either click on the End process button or hit the Del key. Kill A Process With Task Manager Details Tab

Using the End Task button means Windows first tries to see for a certain timeout if the process has really stopped responding, and attempts to collect a crash or memory dump of the process. It then terminates the app.

Tip: We highly recommend you read the article How to end a process quickly with Task Manager in Windows 10 to learn all Task Manager tricks. Also, you can get the classic Task Manager app in Windows 10 to end processes or tasks.

Another classic method to close a process is the console tool taskill. It comes bundled with modern versions of Windows.

Kill a process using Taskkill

Note: Some processes are running as Administrator (elevated). In order to kill them, you need to open an elevated command prompt instance.

  1. Open the command prompt as the current user or as Administrator.
  2. Type tasklist to see the list of running processes and their PIDs. Since the list might be very long, you can use a pipe character with the more command.
    tasklist | more

    Windows 10 Tasklist

  3. To kill a process by its PID, type the command:
    taskkill /F /PID pid_number
  4. To kill a process by its name, type the command
    taskkill /IM "process name" /F

For example, to kill a process by its PID:

taskkill /F /PID 1242

Windows 10 Taskkill By Pid
To kill a process by its name:

taskkill /IM "notepad.exe" /F

Windows 10 Taskkill By Name
Taskkill supports many useful options which you can use to terminate apps. You can learn them by running it as follows: taskkill /?. Using taskkill, you can close all not responding tasks at once in Windows 10.

Kill a process using PowerShell

Note: To kill a process which runs elevated, you need to open PowerShell as Administrator.

  1. Open PowerShell. If required, run it as Administrator.
  2. Type the command Get-Process to see the list of running processes.
  3. To kill a process by its name, execute the following cmdlet:
    Stop-Process -Name "ProcessName" -Force
  4. To kill a process by its PID, run the command:
    Stop-Process -ID PID -Force

Examples:
This command will close the notepad.exe process.

Stop-Process -Name "Notepad" -Force

Windows 10 Powershell Kill A Process

The next command will close a process with PID 2137.

Stop-Process -ID 2137 -Force

If you need to kill a Store app, see the following article:

How to Terminate Store Apps in Windows 10

That's it.

6 thoughts on “How to Kill a Process in Windows 10

  1. Janek Kaliczak

    Some good ways to kill a process, but you forgot Process Explorer, I have been using it since Microsoft bought his company. And have replaced Task Manager with it. Thanks for you description on killing a process with power shell….janek

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, i’ve tried to cover native methods. Sure, there are tons of extra ways to kill a process.

      Reply
  2. Curtis Walter

    Is there a way to have tasklist output sorted alphabetically? It truly is a long list.
    Thank You

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Try
      TASKLIST /NH | SORT

      Reply
  3. fvfv

    tip: does not need to type anything in uppercase ;)

    Reply
  4. John

    Thank you for this information. I was trying to remote in to work but my outlook was stuck/frozen and could not access anything but command. The taskkill information saved me a long commute in to work.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.